In this chapter I will conclude the series titled "Addresses to the Lost." I have already shown how the scriptures command us to "teach"
and "warn" "every man" (Col. 1:28)
and that this is exactly what the early Christians did. I have also already alluded to how the preaching of the prophets, Christ
, and the apostles
, was in agreement with this command. Now I want to look at some other sermons
and gospel preaching
, done by Christ
and the apostles
, wherein it is clear that they addressed unregenerated sinners
and that they exhorted them
to do what they, in themselves, could not do, and yet what they must do in order to be born again
and forever saved
Here is what I wrote in chapter 14 relative to John 5
and the "voice of Christ
":"I will begin an analysis of the above sermon of Christ as it relates to Hardshell views thereon and upon the subject of the spiritual resurrection of which Jesus speaks. I thought it good to begin this examination by taking note of the various "voices" alluded to by Christ in this sermon. The word "voice" itself is used specifically in relation to both the Father and the Son. However, the often repeated use of the terms "witness" and "testify," imply a "spoken voice." Hence, my list above delineating those "voices." One thing I also want to point out, in preparation for an upcoming chapter, to be titled "Addresses To The Lost," that this sermon was addressed to a specific audience, to a group who were clearly not regenerated, clearly not among that group who had already "come to Christ for life." And what do we then see? Simply this
--CHRIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL EVEN TO THE LOST, TO THOSE WHO WERE NOT REGENERATED AND POINTED TO THEM THE WAY TO BE SAVED, YEA, EVEN EXHORTING THEM TO BELIEVE AND BE SAVED!YOU WILL NEVER HEAR A HARDSHELL PREACH SUCH A SERMON TO THOSE THEY KNOW ARE NOT REGENERATED!Take this then as a prelude to a more indepth discussion (which I have done in the past six chapters on "Addresses to the Lost") of this whole issue of whether the gospel is to be preached to all men, for the purpose of exhorting them to come to Christ for salvation."Addressing the Lost in John 5 (an enlargement)How they are Described?
They are: 1) His persecutors
(vs. 10), 2) His would be Murderers
(vs. 16, 18), 3) Those who had not heard the Father's voice
(vs. 37), 4) Those who have not God's word abiding in them
(vs. 38), 5) Unbelievers
(vs. 38), 6) Those who refuse to come to him for life
(vs. 40), 7) Those who have not God's love in their hearts
(vs. 42), 8) Those who received not Christ
(vs. 43), 9) Those who trusted in Moses
(vs. 45), 10) Those who don't believe Moses
(vs. 46, 47), 11) Those who don't believe the words of Christ
Now notice these words, addressed to these people, who are obviously not
nor already "born again"!"These things I say unto you that you might be saved."
(vs. 34) "I say unto you - he who hears my word and believes..."
(vs. 24) "Honor the Son."
(vs. 23) "Search the scriptures."
(vs. 39) "Come to me for life."
(vs. 40)Whom did Christ address and What did Christ Preach,
in John 5?
Clearly he was addressing dead sinners."...and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.""That all men should honour the Son.""Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth...""...but these things I say, that ye might be saved.""...ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.""Search the scriptures...""And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.""How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?""But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
How can a man read the above words of Christ and deny
1. That the gospel is to be preached to all men
, even to those who are known to be unregenerate
2. That in preaching to the lost
, they are to be exhorted to believe in Christ
for salvation, to come to him for life?
3. That hearing
of Christ is the same as hearing
4. That it is the will of God the Father that every man "honour"
at his person
in him and his words, if for no other reason than for the sake of his works?
5. That Christ was preaching to these unregenerate souls
in order "that you might be saved?"
here is clearly unregenerate people.
It is clear that it was the intention
of the preaching of Christ to point these lost souls to the way of salvation, to faith in him. These to whom Jesus preached were "dead in tresspasses and sins,"
Christ is talking to them, preaching to them about what it takes to be saved and regenerated, how to come out of that state of death, and live in Christ!Addressing the Lost in John 6
Who is Christ Addressing
in John 6
? And, what
does he say to them?
They are described thusly
by Christ: 1) They don't "seek Christ"
(vs. 26), 2) They "seek"
the "loaves and fishes"
(vs. 26), 3) They are not laboring for spiritual food
(vs. 34), 4) They are laboring to satisfy carnal appetites
(vs. 34), 5) They do not believe in Jesus
(vs. 28, 30), 6) They murmur against Jesus
(vs. 41, 43), 7) They have no life in them
(vs. 53), 8) They went back from following Christ
(vs. 66-69), 9) They had no assurance of salvation
is Jesus even preaching
Is he talking to their carnal minds
or to their spiritual minds?
Is he "casting pearls before swine"
and "giving holy bread to the dogs"?
Is he preaching
or the law
to these unregenerate souls?
When he corrects
them, to what end is it?
Is he condemning
them for these things? Are they under duty
then? Is there not a call to faith
here? When Jesus says, "My Father gives you the true bread,"
who is designated by the pronoun "you"?
Is it not these who are presently unregenerate
And, does the word "give"
not mean all the same as "offer"?
When he says that he gives his life "for the life of the world"
(vs. 34, 35), is he not saying this bread
is available to them?
Is it not by their "coming to Christ,"
the very thing they "will not" do?
And, even though Jesus knows already
that they "will not come to him," yet
he preaches to them anyway! Is this the modern Hardshell
These lost souls in John 6
had "sent unto John"
(vs. 33), as a kind of enquirer, and were "willing to rejoice in his light"
(vs. 35). Many Hardshells
will want to make these people born again souls
because of this latter statement. But, even depraved sinners may find reason to rejoice
when they hear the gospel but who are not yet born again.
And the clincher is this; Christ says "these things I say unto you that you might be saved."
cannot make this "time salvation"
as these have not even been regenerated yet.
can't be regeneration
either, in the Hardshell scheme,
since Christ does not use preaching to accomplish that work, and preaching is what he is doing here! "These things I say,"
meaning this whole sermon I am preaching to you
, are spoken that
you might thereby believe and be saved
. Besides, Christ is clearly attempting to persuade
and he uses words
, something that many Hardshells
decry! Do the Hardshells
preach to the unregenerate
as did Christ? Do they teach them
as did Christ? Do they exhort them
as did Christ? Clearly Christ did not accept their "logic"
that preaching to dead sinners
was a waste of time
and served no purpose!Addresses to the Lost in John 7
First of all, in this chapter, Jesus addresses
all who are in the Temple (vs. 24 16). And he addresses
a particular group within the Temple, a group who "accuses"
Christ, saying "he has a demon."
(vs. 20) They are further identified as being they who "know not God"
(vs. 28). They are they are want to kill Jesus
(vs. 30, 32). They are such who will not "find" Christ
(vs. 34). Yet, the record is that Christ speaks to them - "I say unto you..."
(vs. 47) And, in speaking to lost souls, he says - "If anyone..."
(vs. 37-39) And, among this general audience, "many believe on him,"
who were not previously believers, for his preaching made them believers. Yet, not all to whom he preached believed on him. He preached to elect and non-elect. He said to all - "come to me and drink."Addresses to the Lost in John 8
Here is the description of those to whom Jesus was speaking: 1. They know not the Father
(vcs. 19), 2. They know not Christ
(vs. 19), 3. They are unbelievers
and will die in their sins
(vs. 21), 4. They are "from below"
(vs. 23), 5. They are "of the world"
(vs. 23), 6. They want to kill the Lord
(vs. 37, 40, 59), 7. They are not "Abraham's children"
(vs. 39), 8. God
(vs. 42), 9. Satan is their "father"
(vs. 44), 10. Unbelievers
(vs. 45,46), 11. They are "not of God"
(vs. 47), 12. They are "accusers" of Jesus
- "he has a demon"
(vs. 48), 13. They do not know the Father
Notice verse 24 - "I say unto you..." "You" who? Is it not these same people? What does he say to them? "You shall die in your sins if you believe not..." Is that the type preaching of the Hardshells? Do they preach this way to dead sinners? Notice verse 51 - "I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
This address, like the ones in John 5, John 6, and John 7, are all to the spiritually dead, to those who are degenenerate, not "regenerate." This is where we get our authority and example to preach to the unsaved. This is where we get insight into how to witness to them, what to say to them, etc. But the Hyper Calvinist ignores all this! Every would be Hardshell "debater" and "apologist" must meet these objections and cannot avoid them without embarrassment.
Addresses to the Lost in John 10
There is a division in the audience that Jesus addresses in this chapter. Sometimes he will speak to the entire audience, without distinction, and then, at other times, will speak to one of the two classes within the audience. There are believers and unbelievers, as it says - "there was a division among them" (vs. 19) "Them" refers to the audience generally. To some, he speaks to them as being his "sheep," while to others he addresses, saying - "you are not of my sheep." Now, if Jesus were a Hyper Calvinist, a Hardshell Baptist, he would not even be preaching at all to these people! He certainly could not be condemning them for not coming to him savingly, nor for not believing on him, because they do not believe unregenerate men are under any duty or obligation to do this! But, Christ did condemn them, thus proving he thought it to be their duty to do so! He also spoke of spiritual truth, not just moral truth. He spoke of the plan and way of salvation, which is surely spiritual truth, and that to people who had no ears to hear, nor any spiritual life! Again, it is more proof that Christ was not an Antinomian Hyperist! His practice proves his doctrine.
Those to whom Christ preached the gospel, in John 10, included those "doubting Jews" (vs. 24), unbelievers (vs. 25,26,38), those who do not "know" Jesus (vs. 27,38), and those whom Jesus does not "know" (vs. 27), those who want to kill Jesus (vs. 31,39), and who accuse him, saying - "he has a demon" (vs. 33,36)
How can these characters be "born again" children of God? Only a biased Hardshell heretic will attempt to make them so. Why? Because he is unwilling to see the truth here - the gospel is to be preached to the dead sinner that he might live thereby.
The Preaching of the Baptist
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand...But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3: 1,2,7-12) The Preaching of Repentance by John
This was not mere legal or moral repentance! It was spiritual! It was the kind necessary for entrance into the spiritual kingdom. This spiritual repentance was commanded of all men who heard the Baptist preach. His preaching was indiscriminate. Repentance was a requirement of entrance into Messiah's kingdom and this kingdom is not the Hardshell church, as they teach.
Most Hardshells acknowledge repentance to be necessary to salvation, but not to regeneration. Most will acknowledge that God "gives repentance unto life." All neo-Hardshells affirm that such repentance is given independently of gospel preaching and exhortation. John is calling to repentance, however, and attends it with threats and warnings.
There is no question that these to whom John is preaching and calling to repentance and faith, are unregenerated lost souls, men who are spiritually dead in tresspasses and sins. How do we know this? The context clearly describes the ones who are being called and warned.
First, he calls them a "generation (or 'brood') of vipers." There is no way that one can make such people to be "born again children of God"! No way! John speaks to them as in need of repentance, in need of bringing forth good fruit, and in danger too of being destroyed in eternal judgment.
The Hypers think there is no warrant for preaching to the dead, even decrying such preaching as being silly and insane. Who can preach to the spiritually dead, to those who have no ears? This is what we hear from them frequently. Yet, what do we see John doing, but this very thing the Hardshells decry doing! He preached the gospel to those who had no good fruit, had no repentance, who had false assurance of salvation, and who are a "brood of snakes." Again, this clearly identifies them as not regenerated. He is speaking to them, not about moral or legal truth, but of spiritual truth, about the gospel of Jesus Christ and his salvation. I would ask the Hardshell to tell us - was John preaching to the carnal or spiritual minds of these vipers? Was he being silly and foolish in preaching to these dead souls?
He reasons with them, saying to them - "think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our Father." Why is he telling them to not trust in these things for salvation? Is it not in order that they might come to trust in the proper thing for salvation? And, what is also very striking in the text, is the fact that the Baptist says to these very vipers - "He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Does he not mean, "He shall baptize you" (save you) if you repent, come to Messiah, bring forth good fruit? He certainly is not saying that he will do these things to them as long as they remain unrepentant and a brood of vipers.
To these unregenerated dead sinners John preaches the gospel! He does not care if they are not able to do as he commands. He knows the Lord will empower the word he is preaching, to these vipers, so that these dead sinners may hear, obey, and repent and believe. He warns these wicked men to "flee the wrath to come," and calls their attention to the coming of judgment for sin. Do Hardshells preach then like the first Baptist?
The Counsel of the Baptist
"And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people." (Luke 3:10-18)
This audience did not consists of simply saints. When the gospel is first preached in a city, that city will contain either all saved people, all lost people, or a mixture of the two. I doubt any city, to which the Baptist preached the gospel, were made up of only elect regenerated people. The gospel was preached to all and the "exhortations" of John to obedience, to repentance, and to look to the Messiah for his baptism (cleansing) and salvation was made to every citizen of every city. The Hardshells do not teach this nor preach this as did the first Old Baptist.
"And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." (Luke 7: 29,30)
This is another statement relative to the evangelistic preaching
of the Baptist
. The teaching
of the Baptist
was the equivalent of the "counsel of God."
That is, the "counsel"
of the Baptist
was the "counsel of God."
the people about their obedience
, about what they must do to enter the Messiah's kingdom
, about believing
, about confessing their sins
, about looking for
in the person
of the Messiah
. Was this "counsel"
only respecting what is moral
what is spiritual?
Fate of Gospel Rejecters
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand...And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." (Matt. 10: 5-7, 14,15)
Again, the Hardshells deny that ALL those who reject the gospel and who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will be condemned eternally, although the above verse, together with many others, utterly overthrow their unscriptural denial. In earlier chapters of this work I commented much on Paul's words - "In flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" and "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." (II Thess. 1:7-9) Paul and the Baptist were in agreement. Those who reject the apostles and their message will find their fate worse than that of the Sodomites, who died in their sins and under the wrath of God.
Is This Gospel Preaching to the Lost?
"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee." (Matt. 11:20-24)
Christ both announces and denounces in this preaching instance. He upbraids the cities where he had spent much time in preaching and teaching, in working miracles (as a "means" to also teach and impart knowledge of the truth), and for what purpose? Does his language above not say that it was intended to convict and to correct, to bring to faith in the truth, to genuine repentance, and to salvation? But, they had not repented but had shown a hard heart and inner prejudice against the gospel and the message of repentance. How could he condemn them for not believing, for not repenting and confessing, for not receiving him, if they were not under obligation to do so? His condemning them shows them to be under duty to do what he condemns. But, the Hypers cannot accept this as a truth.
Christ warns them too of the eternal awful consequences of rejecting the gospel message and the failure to repent and confess sin. In the "day of judgment" they will "be brought down to hell," will suffer the wrath of God in a degree greater than that which the Sodomites suffered.
So, again, Christ did not just preach to the already saved. He preached to the lost! and in a manner that you will not hear a "Strict Baptist," nor a Hardshell, ever preach!
More Preaching to Wicked Sinners
"Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (Matt. 12:22-45)
"O generation of vipers"! That really identifies them, does it not? Will Hardshells come forth and say this is a description of born again children of God? Through out this long sermon Christ further identifies these, to whom he is preaching, as being "evil," and "corrupt hearted," an "adulterous" kind of people, a "demon possessed" people, those who have not heard the word savingly, who have not repented, believed, nor confessed.
Why was Christ preaching to these who are dead and in such a condition? Does he not know that they are unable to hear? Why is he wasting his time even speaking to them? One cannot talk TO the dead, can they? At least, not according to Hardshell "logic." He is witnessing to those who are accusing him of being a disciple of Beelzebub! Does he only speak of moral and carnal things to them, of the law of Moses alone, or does he preach them the gospel and teach them about spiritual truth?
He also reasons with them. Will the Hardshells tell us if Christ was appealing to the spiritual or carnal minds? Was he reasoning with the dead? If so, how can he do that by your "logic"? He speaks to them about the kingdom of God, about his own personal work as the Messiah, about repentance and forgiveness, about salvation and eternal condemnation, and certainly gives out many threats and warnings. Are these not spiritual matters? Christ is doing here what the Hyper Calvinist will not do!
Why does Christ say to these vipers - "he who is not with me is against me"? Is he not stating to them the difference in salvation and damnation? But, why take the time to say these things to "vipers"? Hardshell "logic" will not allow this! Why does he say to them - "every idle word that men speak they will have to give account for on the day of judgment"? Why does he say to these lost sinners, "by your words" you will either be "justified" or "condemned"? Is that all in accordance with Hardshell soteriology?
More Preaching to the Dead
"And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet." (Matt. 21:23-46)
Here is another long sermon of Jesus and it was not preached to a group of saints! He is not just talking about what it means to be a lost sinner, wicked and condemned, but he is talking to them! He does not simply speak about what they are able in themselves to understand, things natural and carnal, nor simply about moral duty and mere legal requirements that require no spirituality, as the Hyperists will argue, but he speaks to them of the highest spiritual truths and of things he knows they cannot understand nor accept without divine grace and power attending his words. I need not list again all the adjectives and ways Christ describes the audience to whom he preaches. It is clear to all but the spiritually blind that he is speaking to dead alien sinners.
He asks these wicked sinners questions about spiritual truth - "what do you think," he asks. He gives them parables and asks them to ponder their meaning for themselves. "Which did the will of his father?" Are they not able to answer? Why does Christ even ask them questions? Is he not violating Hardshell "logic" in saying that one cannot "speak to" those who are "dead"? He also asks them - "did you never read in the scriptures this verse..?" And, it was not a verse dealing with something non-spiritual, but something spiritual, something dealing with salvation.
More Preaching to Dead Sinners
"And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk." (Matt. 22:1-15)
Clearly when it says "he spoke unto them," the "them" are the wicked Pharisees who have rejected his invitations to the wedding, who have killed the king's messengers, and who are judged "not worthy" to enter into the marriage, though they had been "called" and "bidden" or ("invited"). For this they are destined to be "destroyed" and cast into that place reserved for all the damned, that place of "outer darkness" where there is nothing but "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Most of today's Hardshells will want to say that this has nothing to do with eternal salvation, but that the entering into the wedding feast is the equivalent of entering into the Old Hardshell church! They will say that they only "invite" those who are already born again elect, and that their not coming into the Old Hardshell church does not bring eternal destruction, but only the loss of some joys in this life only! What awful hermeneutics!
They are described as rejecting the gospel - "they made light of it." They are described as being ones who have been "called" (invited or bidden to the wedding) but who are not "chosen." How can these be made regenerated children of God? And yet, Christ preaches to them! Again, Hyper Calvinism is overthrown! The gospel is to be preached to every creature.
To what end is Christ even preaching to these people? Is it out of love or hate for the people he is addressing? And again, why is he condemning them for their spiritual death, their sins and rejection of the gospel message, if they have not duty or obligation to do so?
A Homily with the Wicked Dead
"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions." (Matt. 22:41-46)
Clearly Christ initiates a conversation about scripture
. Could there be anything more spiritual
than that? Clearly too it is with the wicked Pharisees
who despise Christ and his message!
And, what does he ask these dead sinners? "What do you think of the Christ?"
What possible reason could the Hardshell apologist
give to us to explain this preaching of Christ? Is Christ not preaching,
just like good old Ezekiel
, to these spiritually dead bones?
Is he not saying to them, "hear ye the word of the Lord"?
In all these sermons
, thus far examined, in all the gospels accounts of them, we find the Baptist
saying these words to poor lost sinners who have no more ability to do
what they are asking and commanding than did the dead bones when Ezekiel preached to them! We who are truly Old Baptists
will continue to inquire of lost dead sinners
- "What do you think of Christ?"Sermon to the Multitude
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matt. 23:1-39)
This is another very long sermon! And, a large portion of it is specifically addressed to the most wicked of men! He threatens them. He warns them. He speaks to them about spiritual matters too and condemns them for their rejection of him and his message.
Let the Hardshells come forward today and tell us what was Christ doing preaching to these lost dead sinners! They do not preach after this manner! It is interesting how Christ refers to the inner wickedness and unregenerate state of these to whom he addresses as being "dead men's bones." Is that not an allusion to the preaching of Ezekiel? Christ acknowledges that the hearts of these are spiritually dead, and yet he still preaches to those dry dead bones of the hard heart!
Some Apostolic Preaching
"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, LEST that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." (Acts 13: 38-41)
Again, this preaching was to a mixed multitude
and lost souls
, no doubt). What
does the apostle preach?
He preaches forgiveness of sins
upon the terms of faith
in the Lord Jesus and his atonement for sin. He warns them
that to reject
is to seal their fate
, one in which they will "perish."
What Hardshell preaches
like this today?"But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." (Acts 26: 16-18)
I dealt with this verse in earlier chapters, but it is worth citing once more at this juncture. It just fits in with what I have been teaching about how the bible teachers addressed those who were lost and dead in sins.Dr. McMahon's Good Testimony"Initially, it is vital to remember that the Hyper-Calvinist mind is in a conundrum. They simply do not understand how to reconcile the Sovereignty of God and the human responsibility of man. That is why Hyper-Calvinism exists. (In essence, that is why Arminianism exists as well!) They desire to tread where theological license has not officiated them to travel. I suppose, then, we could say with the proverb, "Curiosity killed the cat." For Hyper-Calvinism, unwarranted curiosity in the decrees and counsel of God has caused them to enter a realm where God has not revealed Himself. "Since the Noetic influences of sin are so complete in the mind of men, Hyper-Calvinism says that preaching must come after regeneration, not before. Thus, Hyper-Calvinism teaches that men do not come to Christ because he is lost, but because He is saved. This is not the Gospel at all. If this was the case the Hyper-Calvinist is left with the age old question, "which came first the chicken or the egg?" If preaching by the word is the instrumental cause of faith, how could a noetically dead man ever come to faith? God always uses means to accomplish His ends. He does not just "zap" people. This idea the Hyper-Calvinist seems to forget. Matthew 11:28-30ff, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Those who are weary and heavy laden are not saved, but know the burden of their sin. They will find rest with Christ, but they do not already have rest with Christ before they come to Christ. The Gospel is intended for sinners who are in need of the Gospel, not those who already have it." Hyper-Calvinism says this is logically inconsistent. How can fallen men be called to exercise faith without regeneration? This would seem as though God desires they repent while at the same time He does not give them the ability to repent. The Hyper-Calvinist thinks this is a contradiction, but it is not. What does the Hyper-Calvinist do when the Biblical passages are quoted? They enter into a "so-called" logical debate at the expense of being fair to the Bible’s statements about duty-faith. In essence, they simply deny it. The Gospel is universal in invitations. It is a gracious command, a tendering of the call, and an invitation to come to Christ. The Gospel ought to involve a universal plea to all men everywhere to repent and come to faith; since the Gospel is universal. Hyper-Calvinism denies this claim altogether. Hyper-Calvinism teaches that the Gospel call is never directed to the reprobate, but only those who are converted, or have been born again by the Spirit. Why? Only converted men can heed the Gospel call to come. They would even say that dead, unconverted sinners know the Gospel is not for them, and would be offended to hear that the directive to be saved is given to them. Preaching is then reserved for the saved and regenerate. The Gospel is not free for the Hyper-Calvinist. Actually, there is a prerequisite which must be had before one can heed the Gospel call. Hyper-Calvinism is a closet "works plus grace" salvation. They would like us to believe they are cavaliers for sovereign grace. But this is not true. They do not only believe in sovereign regeneration, but a subjective knowledge of such regeneration. The subjective experience becomes a prerequisite for trusting in the promises of the Gospel. The untainted Sovereign Grace of God is mixed with a prerequisite work of "feeling" before salvation through Gospel preaching may be obtained or even allowed. This is a works plus grace salvation. That which the Hyper-Calvinist desired to guard against, he has been propagating all along! But believing in limiting the Gospel to those with certain subjective experiences is to confuse the Gospel. The inconsistency is readily apparent when we ask, "How does the unconverted man know how to do this? How does a lost man examine himself in this light?" Then comes the problem that the Hyper-Calvinist has in trying to explain this to a man. Possibly the discussion may go like this:Hyper-Calvinist: Did the message affect you in any way this morning?Man: I am not sure. Should it have?
HC: Only if you are a Christian.
Man: How do I know if I am a Christian?
HC: Do you believe you are converted?
Man: I do not know.
HC: Well, do you believe you are regenerate?
Man: What is regeneration?
HC: Regeneration is the working of the Spirit in your
heart. Do you think the Spirit has worked in your heart?
Man: Maybe. How can I tell?
HC: You really cannot tell unless He has, and, as a matter of fact, I cannot tell if he has in you unless you can tell me he has.
Man: I do not know if He has. I am unsure.
HC: Then I suppose our conversation is at an end."John Owen speaks to this well when he says, "1. Regeneration doth not in order of time precede the soul's interest in the forgiveness that is with God, or its being made partaker of the pardon of sin. I say no more but that it doth not precede it in order of time, not determining which hath precedence in order of nature. That, I confess, which the method of the gospel leads unto is, that absolution, acquitment, or the pardon of sin, is the foundation of the communication of all saving grace unto the soul, and so precedeth all grace in the sinner whatever. But because this absolution or pardon of sin is to be received by faith, whereby the soul is really made partaker of it and all the benefits belonging thereunto, and that faith is the radical grace which we receive in our regeneration, for it is by faith that our hearts are purified, as an instrument in the hand of the great purifier, the Spirit of God, I place these two together, and shall not dispute as to their priority in nature; but in time the one doth not precede the other. The problem of preaching indiscriminately to all men and offering the Gospel to every creature stems from a theological fear. Hyper-Calvinism fears that men may taint the sovereignty of God theologically by offering the Gospel to men who must give an effort of faith. The free offer does not operate in the realm of the decree, but in the realm of precept. This is another aspect in which the Hyper-Calvinist has made his error.The Hyper-Calvinist is acting in a disassociated manner from those he is preaching to. Even in the Old Testament the prophet Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. Paul in the New Testament was known to weep over men. George Whitefield would never preach in the fields to the miners without weeping at one point or another. I am not saying that emotionalism should be the key to draw men, but the disposition of the preacher over the souls of men is of vital importance in preaching. Can the Hyper-Calvinist weep? Why would the Hyper-Calvinist weep? He would not need to if he believed his own theology. His theology would not allow Him to do so. He is simply a lecturer. That is why Jeremiah, Paul and George Whitefield could never have been a Hyper-Calvinists! Here, the Hyper-Calvinist is set apart from those who are heralds, or the karux, of the Word. No doubt, Hyper-Calvinists believe that God only hates the reprobate, and only loves the elect, in any sense whatsoever. Hyper-Calvinism completely denies that God loves men generally in any way and completely denies that God hates the elect in any way."
These are excellent words by Dr. McMahon
! I will have more to say on some of these points in upcoming chapters on "Conviction."
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (I Tim. 1:15)